Hydrofracking Moratorium in Avon Causes Controversy
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Gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing is a topic that creates strong concerns and opinions on both sides.
"Many of our residents are concerned about our environment, our quality of life, the atmosphere, the character, the things that we have to offer here in Northern Livingston County,” said David LeFeber, Avon Town Supervisor.
LeFeber says it’s because of those concerns, the town recently voted in a moratorium that prohibits permits being issued to horizontally frack on local wells.
The moratorium was put in place for one year. It will give the town a chance to research the more massive form of fracking; a practice that has not yet been done in the area.
"This moratorium will produce information to help make sure our town infrastructure is protected, our atmosphere, our quality of life and character is protected; as well as people’s health, safety and welfare,” LeFeber said.
The owner of the natural gas company, Lenape Resources, disagrees with the local law. As a result to the moratorium, its owner plans to shut down its natural gas supply to the town.
"The confusion created by this has caused me to step back and shut in some wells shut in a pipeline to get an idea of what's going on, whether or not the NYS DEC regulates the industry or the town of Avon is going to regulate the industry,” said John Holko.
Holko owns Lenape and says horizontal fracking is where the industry is headed. Although, the law won't impact the company now, it will impact the future of hydrofracking development.
"Essentially, what they are doing is taking away the best practices that the industry is currently developing, and that's where the industry is going,” said Holko. "The moratorium in Avon is basically forcing my company to look at the practice from years ago instead of looking to the future."
LeFeber says without Lenape's services, the town will have to buy propane gas for some of its facilities, and the same goes for residents and local businesses impacted by the move. He hopes the town and Lenape can work together on a solution.
"They are a good company, and it was so important to us in this moratorium that we protected that company and its gas wells, and that was certainly the intent of our local law," LeFeber said.
Some local business owners and residents who wouldn't go on camera say they plan to express their concerns about Lenape's decision at the next Town Board meeting.
It will take place at the Avon Town Hall, Thursday at 7 p.m.